Laurent de Wilde
Available languages: EnglishDividing his time between the United States and France, Laurent de Wilde has found a welcoming audience in both countries. His third solo album, Open Changes, resulted in de Wilde receiving a Django Reinhardt Award for Best French Musician of 1992. In addition to leading his own group, de Wilde has worked as a session player for Reggie Workman, Ralph Moore, Greg Osby, Joshua Redman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aldo Romano, André Ceccarelli, Harold Land, and Tom Harrell. His first four albums featured tenor saxophonist Joe Coleman, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and trumpet player Eddie Henderson. His fifth release, Spoon-a-Rhythm, released in 1997, featured St. Thomas-born drummer Dion Parson and former Miles Davis and Weather Report percussionist Bobby Thomas Jr.. Born in Washington, D.C., de Wilde moved to France before his fifth birthday. After studying philosophy at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, he returned to the United States to attend Long Island University. While there, he met and befriended pianist Joey Calderazzo. Settling in New York, de Wilde was mentored by such influential pianists as Jim McNeely, Kirk Lightsey, and Mulgrew Miller. A member of Eddie Henderson's band in 1986, he recorded his debut solo album, Off the Boat, the following year. He followed with the impressive solo albums Odd and Blue in 1989 and Colors of Manhattan in 1990. Signing with Sony Jazz France in 1994, he released his fourth album, The Back Burner, in 1995. De Wilde authored a biography of influential jazz pianist Thelonious Monk in 1996, which received a Charles DeLaunay Prize for Best Book on Jazz.
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Saying that Laurent de Wilde has a rather intense love story with Thelonious Monk is a nice euphemism… Of course he’s not the only musician to have been overwhelmed by the author of Straight No Chaser, but he wrote a brilliant biography dedicated to him in 1996 (Monk, released by L’Arpenteur at the time and republished in paperback by Folio). A work in which Laurent de Wilde wrote: “Monk believes in silence. In his music, in his life, everywhere.” With his New Monk Trio, he therefore offers a personal and original rewriting of the master’s repertoire. His compositions are reused and arranged for an acoustic trio composed of Jérôme Regard on double bass and Donald Kontomanou on drums. De Wilde takes the small liberty of sliding a personal composition that he performs solo at the piano: Tune For T… Logically, the project was fully considered by its author, who has been releasing discs for the last thirty years: “After spending a consistent part of my existence studying the multiple facets of Monk’s genius and sharing its wonder with my contemporaries, he explains, it was very hard for me to convince myself of the necessity of covering his titles, which would only paraphrase without grace the magnificent and singular perfection of this interpretations… But as the years went by, I progressively got used to borrow a few pieces from his repertoire to distill them in the musical spirit of my current band… Simultaneously, for twenty years my disc have almost only included original compositions—the previous ones were made of rearranged standards—and I progressively got used to the feeling of a sound and a color of my own, which would be found in each and every of my recordings. This is in that context that, upon seeing the arrival of the historic date of Thelonious’ birth, I convinced myself it was time for me to honor him in my own way: by reusing his melodies and by rearranging them with my modest palette of personal colors, recomposing his music at times, choosing for this a ground both familiar and pleasing to me, the trio.” The result is most interesting in its choices. Modifications of the original tempo, alteration of forms, rupture of harmonies and merging of several melodies into one track, Laurent de Wilde and his splendidly committed rhythm section never leaves indifferent and even offers a really fascinating perspective on a repertoire that has been recorded thousands of times… © MD/Qobuz